The Roanoker - July/August 2020 - 56

" It's to the point where
you have to do more than
farming itself, and people
like coming out to a farm.
We enjoy seeing families
coming out and having fun,
so it's a win for them
and for us. "
NED JETER

56

JULY/AUGUST 2020

The two brothers and their dad are the only full-time
employees on the farm, and days are long. In addition to
taking care of cattle and cleaning equipment, the Jeters
grow about 200 acres of field corn and 100 acres of wheat,
the latter of which is ground into flour at Mennel Milling,
in Roanoke County, before heading to area businesses.
Jeter Farm once sold various squash and pumpkins
to Kroger, but between the difficulty of finding labor,
the cost of supplies and the increasing focus on cattle,
it was no longer feasible to sell them commercially.
However, Ned says farm-grown squash and sweet corn
will also be sold at their country store.
The country store is part of a shift into agritourism
that has taken place at the farm in recent years. Though
they had long hosted school group visits, it wasn't until
2007 that the family decided to hold an annual fall
festival.
" The margin of profit in farming, whether beef,
grains or hay, has gotten smaller and smaller over the
years, " Ned notes. " It's to the point where you have to
do more than farming itself, and people like coming
out to a farm. We enjoy seeing families coming out and
having fun, so it's a win for them and for us. "
It's also a lot of work in addition to their regular
farm duties. In mid-April, Ned and his sons plant corn
and cut a design for the corn maze, a popular attraction
which Ned was initially reluctant to undertake.

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The Roanoker - July/August 2020

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